Undeveloped countries are rushing to deliver power to all of their citizens – and with it the economic opportunities and progress that only a robust power infrastructure can deliver. But in some countries the natural terrain – and local laws – make power line stringing by traditional means nearly impossible.
Enter the drone. In Bandung, Indonesia, a power line project had been delayed for seven years when the original contractor abandoned the job as impossible. Local regulations prohibited workers from touching the roofs of homes – nearly impossible when working in a densely populated city of over 8,000,000. When local contractor QDC took over the job, they knew they’d have to take a different approach.
QDC worked with Chinese drone company MMC, purchasing the Spider solution for power line stringing. The Spider Solution features MMC’s industrial drones with an option for a wind- and rain-resistant carbon fiber drone: necessary to get the job done in a climate like Indonesia’s, without waiting for a dryer season. It’s flight endurance, low cost, and higher payload – able to accommodate standard 3mm leading line – make it the ideal choice for power line stringing. The interchangeable “plug and play” payload system mean that the drone can be used for multiple purposes during the project.
The MMC Spider Solution doesn’t stop at providing the drone. The company also provides training, flight planning assistance, post-sales service – and a team of professional drone pilots. The total package puts drones in reach for contractors who have no experience with commercial drones and don’t have the expertise on staff to implement the technology successfully.
Mr. Erik, a subcontractor working for PLN in the coastal Suralaya region of Indonesia had a different problem to solve. Palm oil plantations surrounded the area, making it difficult to complete the power project while accommodating local environmental restrictions and the concerns of landowners. “We didn’t know anything about the use or cost of drones for power line stringing, but we knew we had to try it- because so many PLN(Perusahaan Listrik Negara) projects are located in palm oil plantations,” says Erik. “We can’t cut palm trees – we need to work from above. With drones, we can solve all of the problems from above with the guiding line. It benefits us all.”
Bringing drones to power infrastructure projects – conquering tough terrain, keeping workmen out of danger, and preserving natural resources – does benefit us all.